When the Marietta College baseball team gets a lead, it hangs on to it, like a pitbull does a bone.
It just won't relinquish it.
Remember this when the Pioneers (46-3) face Chapman in today's national title game at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis.
So far this season when the Etta Express scores first, it is 42-1, and undefeated at 28-0 when leading after the second inning.
Amazingly, the NCAA Division III top-ranked Pioneers have only been behind once in 2011 postseaon play, and that was when they played John Carroll University in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tounament opener at Don Schaly Stadium back on May 12.
In that game, JCU owned a 1-0 advantage, thanks to the southpaw pitching of Tom Schaberl, going into the bottom of the seventh inning when MC rallied to plate three runs. The Pioneers then went on to claim a 4-1 triumph.
Since that game, Marietta has played 90 consecutive innings, which translates into 10 wins, and not trailed once. OK, the Pioneers and Heidelberg University Student Princes were briefly tied 1-1 in the Mideast Regional Championship game at DSS, but the pinstripes went on to prevail 2-1 to clinch a berth in the World Series in Wis.
Other than that, it's been all Marietta College, all the way.
To be honest with you, MC doesn't really have any team "weaknesses" per se, except for maybe lacking a longball threat like Jay Coakley, Bill Holmes, Mike Brandts or even former Pioneer player Brian Brewer.
"We're just not a big inning club," said Brewer after Marietta blanked Franklin 6-0 in the Mideast Regional. "We're really not. We're not going to hit the ball 400 feet. But again, we don't ask them to. We just ask them to move the ball, and we're going to get on, get over and hopefully get them in type thing - and try to apply some pressure to the defensive club."
This season, the Pioneers as a team have slugged 15 home runs. Aaron Hopper has five to lead the club. Until Casey Levens hit a two-run blast to help the Etta Express beat Keystone, 11-2, Monday, Hopper had drilled the last round-tripper, a solo shot, in a 7-3 win over Heidelberg University in the OAC Tournament final on May 14.
When MC routed Heidelberg 23-6 in a Mideast Regional winner's bracket game, the Pioneers had 23 hits - but no one went yard.
Overall, though, the Pioneers have been strong in all phases of the game - hitting, defending, bench depth, and pitching - especially pitching. There may be arguably no college or university baseball team in America in any division or level that has three aces the likes of Brian Gasser, Austin Blaski and Mark Williams.
"This program was founded on pitching and catching the ball," Brewer said. "If you do those things, you're going to be in every game."
And, in Marietta College's case, more often than not, in every championship game.
Oh, yes...one last, little tidbit: Going into today's championship round, Brewer-led Marietta owns a 22-game winning streak.
In case you're wondering, the Don Schaly-coached 1999 Pioneers won 40 straight, and that's the school record.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at email@example.com